Quesada, Sierra de Cazorla
Quesada is located to the south-west of Jaén, in the side of Sierra de Cazorla and opposite to the olive countryside. It is the birthplace of the painter Rafael Zabaleta, who has a museum in this town with many of his works. Quesada is a multicoloured group of narrow streets with white houses where we can observe the Church if S. Pedro and S. Pablo, the Church of El Hospital, the Arch of La Manquita de Utrera and the Arch of Los Santos or the one of El Señor. Near the town is the Paraje de Tíscar, a place with spectacular beauty where it is located the sanctuary of La Virgen, in which took place a famous romería (celebration of a saint’s day held close to a country church or shrine) and where we can observe the Cueva del Agua.
Part of its municipal district belongs to the Sierras de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park, that is the biggest protected space in Spain: an orographical labyrinth of valleys, limestone quarries, cuts, mountains and high plateaus with a great
hydrologic importance (because of the huge quantity of rivers and streams that flow from it); botanical (European Black Pine, Aleppo Pine and many endemic species); the wealth of the fauna, hunting and the landscape. From it we can observe that it is one of the most visited open spaces in the country.
In the Sierra de Quesada there are many shelters with cave paintings, among which we can emphasize the cave of El Encarejo, the shelter of El Cerro Vitar, the cave of La Hiedra and the Cave Cabrera, where, apart from the paintings, there were found ceramics and lithic material that have made possible to date the first human settlement in these lands during the III millennium B.C.
During the Bronze Age (II millennium B.C), with the arrival of the first middle bronze age towns, the same shelters and caves from the previous phase were again occupied, and other, such as the village and necropolis of “Corral de Quiñones”, in the Cerro de la Magdalena.
From its Roman past the town preserves a group with a great relief, the town of Bruñel, a splendid proof of architecture linked with the agrarian exploitation and that had a valuable collection of mosaics. In its last settlement phases, during the IV century A.C., we can observe structures that belong to an early Christian basilica.
Apart from Bruñel, other towns were found, like the ones of spots Allozar, Voladero, Los Rosales and Aguas Calientes, that how an intense territory occupancy during the imperial age.
The origin of the present urban area location of Quesada seems to belong the Visigoth Age, according to many remains found in the town, such as the capitals that nowadays mark out the access to the parish church garden.
But during the Arab Age Quesada had entity like a populated area. In the Arab texts appear with the name of Madinat or qal´at Qayyata, a fortress located at the foot of a high mountain that presented the appearance of medina (a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia) due to its markets, baths, inns and outskirts. This age was very famous because of its wood plates and glasses industry that would be transported and sold all over Al-Andalus and El Magreb.
The Arab sources make reference to Hisn Tiskar and locate it in Raymiyya, a place that had many fortified areas and high mountains.
From the first Christian conquest carried out in 1157 by Alfonso VII’s armies, in the following centuries it changed hands several times between Castilians and andalusies. In 1231 the king Fernando III offered to the archbishop of Toledo the venture of taking the square of Quesada. Together with Quesada he took other towns that were ceded by the king to the church of Toledo and later they would made up the Adelantamiento de Cazorla.
But, even after the conquest of the Archbishop, the attacks against the town do not stop: in 1290, 1295 and1299 Muhammad II de Granada conquered and devastated the poor area, later his descendant Muhammad III conquers it in 1302 and in 1310 returned to be recovered by Fernando IV’s army. In 1319 Tiscar was conquered by the prince Pedro, Alfonso XI’s uncle.
In 1331 Quesada stop being part of the Adelantamiento and it was ceded to the town of Úbeda by Alfonso XI.
Between the most outstanding facts from the Modern Age we have to emphasize the mutiny that took place in 1766, the first in Spain in which women rose up, and whose cause was the increase of bread (repercussion of Esquilache’s riot). In 1788 it was founded in the town the Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País. The Queen Isabel II gave it the title of town.
During the first years of the XX century the writers from the Generación del 98 Manuel Cigues Aparicio and Antonio Machado visited the town, who based on Quesada some of their works. In 1907, the great writer Rafael Zabaleta was born in Quesada.
Arch of Los Santos, XIV century. Door of the old walled enclosure. It has a Roman tombstone.
Church of San Pedro and San Pablo, XVI century. Its chapel and tower belong to the Gothic.
Church of El Hospital, XVII century
Sanctuary and Castle of Tíscar. The Sanctuary has elements that belong to the XIV, XVI and XVII centuries.
Arch of La Manquita de Utrera. It has Visigoth origin and so-called in this way by the image of the Virgen de la Consolación de Utrera.
Quesada Archaeological Sites
Cerro de la Magdalena.
Site of Bruñel.
Cave paintings located in different caves.
Old walled enclosure.
Heredamiento. We can observe the remains of the Arab fortress La Majuela.
Bruñel. Small village where we can find a Roman town from the III century and some mosaics. Over the town it is located an Early Christian basilica from the IV century.
Family Seats with coat of arms.
Tíscar Don Pedro. A town located in the Sanctuary of La Virgen de Tíscar, with front and porch from XIV century.
Casa de la Cultura (Municipal Arts Centre). Library, archive and museum.
It is a cuisine from the mountain and therefore decisive. The most peculiar dish are the talarines (stew with meat, vegetables, mushrooms with wafer-thin slices), it is similar to the gazpacho manchego and the andrajos, which consists on a stew with meat, vegetables, mushrooms with pastry wafer-thin slices that are in pieces (from there the name of andrajos).
We can also find some dishes like Pipirrana (salad with onion, tomato and cucumber), migas (crumbs with a stew including curdled blood, liver, kidneys and offal, traditionally eaten right after butchering a pig, a sheep or a goat), gachas (wheat flour, water, olive oil, garlic and salt), ajoarina (cod stew with tomato, pepper, garlic, saffron, paprika, cumin and flour), gachurreno (flour, water, oil, potatoes and salt), etc.
How to get there
From Madrid: Bailén, Úbeda, Torreperogil, Peal de Becerro and Quesada.
From the east: Puerto Lumbreras, Baza, Pozo-Alcón and Quesada.
From the south: Granada, crossroads of Nava, Guadahortuna, Jódar, Peal de Becerro and Quesada.
From Sevilla: Cordoba, Bailén, Úbeda, Torreperogil, Peal de Becerro and Quesada
Distances from Quesada
Jaén 87 km
Toya 17 km
Jódar 33 km
Úbeda 42 km
Cazorla 19 km
Peal de Becerro 11 km
Hornos del Real 18 km
Los Propios del Guadiana 23 km